R.I.P. Andy Rourke of The Smiths

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Andy Rourke, bassist for The Smiths, has died, according to a post on social media from his former bandmate Johnny Marr. Rourke died after an illness with pancreatic cancer, according to the post. He was 59.

Rourke joined The Smiths in 1982, shortly after its formation by Marr and vocalist Morrissey. His nimble basslines were among the signature sounds of the band, his recognizable style hear in songs such as “Rusholme Ruffians,” “The Queen Is Dead” and “Barbarism Begins at Home,” lending an upbeat groove to the band’s jangly post-punk sound. He performed on all four of the group’s studio albums despite briefly being kicked out of the band in 1986 during a bout with heroin addiction, before being brought back in the following year.

After The Smiths split up in 1987, Rourke performed on some of the early singles collected on Morrissey’s Bona Drag, including “Picadilly Palare” and “November Spawned A Monster.” He also played on Sinead O’Connor’s album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, as well as The Pretenders’ The Last of the Independents. He was also a member of the triple-bass group Freebass with Peter Hook of New Order/Joy Division and Mani of The Stone Roses and Primal Scream. His last gig was performing at Madison Square Garden last fall with Johnny Marr’s band.

“I was present at every one of Andy’s bass takes on every Smiths session. Sometimes I was there as the producer and sometimes just as his proud mate and cheerleader. Watching him play those dazzling baselines was an absolute privilege and genuinely something to behold,” Marr’s statement said in part. “Andy will always be remembered, as a kind and beautiful soul by everyone who knew him, and as a supremely gifted musician by people who love music.”

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